Friday, December 25, 2009

Water and Civilization

"Civilization has been a permanent dialogue between human beings and water."--Paolo Lugari, Gaviotas Pg.64

"Everything is water and the world is full of gods." The Greek philosopher Thales wrote this in fl c. 580.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stories, Peak Oil, and Climate Change

This morning I spent some time reading posts over at the Archdruid Report.

This paragraph from this article jumped out at me:

"Still, I find myself wondering if Hagbard’s Law plays a much bigger role here than any deliberate plan. The global warming story, if you boil it down to its bones, is the kind of story our culture loves to tell – a narrative about human power. Look at us, it says, we’re so mighty we can destroy the world! The peak oil story, by contrast, is the kind of story we don’t like – a story about natural limits that apply, yes, even to us. From the standpoint of peak oil, our self-anointed status as evolution’s fair-haired child starts looking like the delusion it arguably is, and it becomes hard to avoid the thought that we may have to settle for the rather less flattering role of just another species that overshot the carrying capacity of its environment and experienced the usual consequences."

I've always wondered why the peak oil issue gets very little press.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Resistance Movement to save the Planet

If you're trying to imagine what the vision of a movement like this might be you might want to check out this article by Derrick Jensen. I'll post a quote below.

What I want is for us to think like members of a serious resistance movement.

What does that look like? Well, to start, it doesn’t have to mean handling guns. Even when the IRA was at its strongest, only 2 percent of its members ever picked up weapons. The same is true for the Underground Railroad; Harriet Tubman and others carried guns, but Quakers and other pacifists who ran safe houses were also crucial to that work. What they all held in common was a commitment to their cause, and a willingness to work together in the resistance.

A serious resistance movement also means a commitment to winning, which means figuring out what “winning” means to you. For me, winning means living in a world with more wild salmon every year than the year before, more migratory songbirds, more amphibians, more large fish in the oceans, and for that matter oceans not being murdered. It means less dioxin in every mother’s breast milk. It means living in a world where there are fewer dams each year than the year before. More native forests. More wild wetlands. It means living in a world not being ravaged by the industrial economy. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get there (and if, by the way, you believe that “whatever it takes” is code language for violence, you’re revealing nothing more than your own belief that nonviolence is ineffective).--Derrick Jensen

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Obama and Politics

Ran Prieur has had some really insightful political posts on December 14th, 15th, and 17th. I especially like this part:

Obama's moral failure was running for president in the first place. He should have known he was not going to be able to keep his campaign promises, and knowing that, he should not have made them, and then there's no point in running. But you know who also runs for president? Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul. They are all feeding the lie, and they probably believe it themselves, that the Emperor rules the Empire, and not the other way around.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life After Ishmael

There have been a few times that I've wanted to rename this blog to Life After Ishmael. The book simply had a big impact on me. For example, when I'm reading a book by any author I find myself asking if what the author is saying has any relation to what Daniel Quinn had to say in Ishmael. This is happening quite often as I'm reading Karen Armstrong's The Case for God. Take this quote for instance.

"In his conversations Socrates sought not merely to inform but to form the minds of his interlocutors, producing within them a profound psychological change. Wisdom was about insight, not amassing information." Pg. 59

I had a "profound psychological change" after reading Ishmael. As it stands right now it's a mystery to me how it happened, but no doubt it happened.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Great Chain of Being

I'm still going through my notebooks. More on what Nature means to us.

"The Great Chain of Being concept is a product of the Middle Ages, but it wasn't left behind during the Renaissance. Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz all wrote about it with complete seriousness. In fact, it's never been left behind, has it? Even people who don't believe in God or angels still perceive Man to be at the top of the chain of life on this planet. He stands apart and above all the rest--the rest being that which during the Age of Enlightenment came to be known as 'Nature.'"--Daniel Quinn, Pg. 81, If They Give you Lined Paper Write Sideways

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Phillip K. Dick on Reality

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, does not go away." --Phillip K. Dick

I've always liked this essay by him. It's titled: How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later

Friday, December 11, 2009

Anxiety, Abram and Animism

I'm starting to understand why Daniel Quinn will not use the term nature in his work. In The Story of B he even titled a section Dynamiting Nature. In that section he talks about why using the term nature in any discussion can be decieving.

Anyway, back to another quote I dug up out of my notebook that speaks to my understanding.

"From an animistic perspective, the clearest source of all this disstress, both physical and psychological, lies in the aforementioned violence needlessly perpetrated by out civilization on the ecology of the planet, only by alleviating the latter will we be able to heal the former." --David Abram, Pg.22, The Spell of the Sensuous

Perhaps what we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stories and Calvin Luther Martin

In going through my notebooks I found these two quotes about story:

"....[The story]had a spirit, yua: the story itself was a living thing."-- Pg.2

"....the story may be thinking you rather than you thinking it."--Pg.3

Both of those quotes are out of Martin's book The Way of the Human Being.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Martian Anthropologist.

I've been going through my notebooks that are full of quotes from books that I've read in the past. Here is a quote out If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways:

"My frame of reference is that of a Martian anthropologist. I'm like someone who has traveled millions of miles to study a species of beings who, while supposedly bring rational, are destroying the very planet they live on."--Pg.5

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Backing Up a Bit

Yesterday I mentioned that I like the part in Diamond's quote about anthropologists searching for human possibilities. But I think before anyone becomes interested in human possibilities one must come to a place where they feel and think there is something wrong.

Did you know that Daniel Quinn had a different title in mind for Beyond Civilization? It was: The Manual of Change. In his words here is why:

"I thought of this because there's nothing the people of our culture want more than change. They desperately want to change themselves and the world around them. The reason isn't hard to find. They know something's wrong--wrong with themselves and wrong with the world."

Those words ring as true for me today as they did when I first read them ten years ago.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

What is an Anthropologist

Well, according to the anthropologist/poet Stanley Diamond:

"Of course anthropolgists are "spiritual" double agents. That is, they are marginal to the commercial-industrial society that created them, but they eagerly explore the areas opened up to them by colonialism. Anthropology is an academic discipline, but it also implies revolt, a search for human possibilities." --Pg. 89 In Search of the Primitive

I especially like the part about searching for human possibilities.